Israel’s sports betting monopoly is considering adding gambling to its service offering, if a campaign by local sports agencies succeeds in government.

According to the Globes newspaper, representatives of various sports agencies in the country met with members of the Knesset Committee on Education, Culture and Sports to request approval of alternative forms of financial compensation after the closure of sporting events caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

It has been suggested that one way to raise additional income for the sport is through the improvement and diversification of services offered by the state-owned Israel Sportsbook Board (ISBB). This involves adding pre-match betting to your current in-play betting markets.

Sports organizations argue that due to limitations in the current service offerings of the Toto Winner and ISBB brands, Israeli bettors prefer to move to other internationally licensed sites that offer more diverse betting options. This implies a loss of tax revenue for the government and for sports organizations themselves that require additional funds to face the crisis.

Currently the suggestion could find support in the finance ministry headed by Israel Katz, whose thinking on the game is more patronizing than that of former portfolio minister Moshe Kahlon.

Although in the Ministry they are not entirely convinced about the profits that the bets at stake would bring. According to the sports group’s presentation, the gambling revenues at stake would represent a turnover close to ILS500 million (US $ 145.3 million) per year.

Revenue is estimated at around ILS50 million, which may not be enough to convince the government to confront groups opposed to gambling. According to the presentation, this turnover figure could double in a decade.

The Ministry of Culture and Sports expressed in a brief statement that the bets at stake were for now “a complicated issue with many aspects.” However, it promised only that it will discuss the matter and examine it “in depth.” At the Ministry of Finance they were less promising and said that “a professional position has not yet been formulated on the changes in this area.”


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